Most Mexicans used to go and buy Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead) from stores or bakeries on the occasion of Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrated from Oct 31- Nov 1 in the memory of their loved ones who had passed from this world.
Pan de Muerto is a traditional Mexican sweet bread that is loved by people because of its taste and historic importance. It is left as an offering for the departed ones along with other things they used to like. This tradition now seems to be followed in many other countries to honor and remember their loved ones with the best thing possible 🙂
So this time I have got you the easiest recipe of it so you can show more love to the departed ones by baking the Pan de Muerto yourself and much better than you bought from outside 🙂
Table of Contents
Why This Recipe Works
Pan de Muerto is a soft pillow-like bread moistened and flavored with lemon juice, sugar, or orange zest with a so inviting aroma and taste! It is decorated with dough shaped like a ball denoting the skull and the four bones symbolizing the bones of the dead.
Making Pan de Muerto at home proves to be so economical, budget-friendly, and makes everyone a fan of your baking skills. Or you can start your own business of it on days of Dia de Muertos as most people do 🙂
And making it in an Instant Pot is so easy task to do cutting off a lot of time!
Learn how to make the best bakery-style Pan de Muerto at home.
Pan De Muerto Recipe Video
Wheat Flour - I have used whole wheat flour as it results in a heavier and perfectly baked bread that turns out to be healthier. Fresh and finely ground wheat flour works perfectly with this recipe giving out the softest bread you would ever have! I used the wheat flour in another recipe buckwheat porridge, which you might explore too.
Condensed Milk - It is used for sweetening purposes here. Adding condensed milk gives Pan de Muerto a milky sweet flavor with a milky aroma and perfectly balances the sugary part. Adding sugar instead could harden the dough, unlike condensed milk which moistens it.
Yeast - This bread can never be imagined without yeast as it is the reason behind its airiness and softness. I have used instant yeast in my dough to get quick and better results.
Eggs - Use medium-sized eggs and they should be at room temperature.
Ground Anise - This is one of my favorite ingredients to use in Pan de Muerto. Anise confuses us with its good spicy taste and herbal sweetness like stevia at the same time. It brings a soft yet so strong aroma out of the bread. It just takes your bread to the next level but can be skipped by the person who doesn't like it.
Mexican Chocolate - Use any kind of Mexican chocolate. Mine gives out multiple flavors which are cinnamon, sugar, and roasted cocoa nibs but you can use other spiced flavors like nutmeg, all-spice, or others.
Orange Zest - The grated orange zest adds in a bit citrusy, tangy, yet so exciting flavor to Pande Muerto. A small amount adds in tons of goodness.
Lemon Juice And Sugar - We'll prepare a mixture of both of them to brush it over bakes bread making the outer layer moist and fun-loving! If you like this ingredient, I would suggest you to try lemon garlic chicken too.
How To Make
Here is the step-by-step guide of this recipe for your ease.
Gather all the necessary ingredients first.
Take a bowl, pour ¼ cup of lukewarm water into it.
Add 1 tablespoon of instant yeast into the bowl.
Add ½ teaspoon of white sugar to it.
Mix it properly and set it aside.
Now take a fresh orange zest.
Grate it around 2 tablespoons and set it aside.
Take a bar of frozen Mexican chocolate.
Grate it around ¼ cup and set it aside.
Now, take 4 cups of wheat flour and add it to a large working bowl.
Add prepared yeast mixture to the bowl.
Add 2 eggs to it, one by one at a time.
Pour 1 and ½ cups of condensed milk into the mixture.
Add the grated orange zest to it.
Add a teaspoon of salt to it.
Mix all the ingredients properly with the help of a hand mixer.
Add a teaspoon of ground anise to it.
Add the grated Mexican chocolate to it. Chocolate lovers can explore our chocolate pudding recipe as well.
Now, stretch and knead the dough well with your hands.
Then add 1 and ½ tablespoons of softened butter to it.
Add 1 and ¼ tablespoons of sugar to it.
Give a dough a good knead again.
Then cover it with a clean damp cloth and let it rest for 2-4 hours at 75-85F.
Once the rest time ends and the dough has raised.
Sprinkle some dried flour on the countertop and place the dough over it.
Knead a bit then divide it into 3 parts. (2 in equal portion and 1 in smaller one)
Make a round dough of 2 equal proportionate and place them on a tray.
Cover them with a clean cloth for 30 minutes.
Take the third portion and divide them into 10 small parts.
Now take 5 small divided parts from it and keep the rest 5 aside. Then make a small ball with one portion and shape the other 4 in a bone structure.
30 minutes are done now. Take one of the covered dough. Stick bones and ball on it with the help of water like this.
Cover it with a clean cloth and let it rest for 2 more hours.
Until then, take a bowl and pour 2 tablespoons of water into it.
Add 1 and ½ tablespoons of sugar to it.
Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to it.
Mix it up and set it aside.
Then take an Instant Pot and place the prepared bread dough into it.
Cover it with airfryer lid. Select 'bake' function. Set the timer for 40 minutes at the temperature of 370F.
Once done, uncover the air fryer lid and transfer the bread to a dish.
Brush the prepared lemon mixture over it.
Sprinkle some sugar on it.
Then serve the super soft and yummy Pan de Muerto with some hot chocolate and enjoy!
How Can I Serve Pan De Muerto
Pan de Maurte is best served with hot beverages like hot chocolate, dulce de leche, or pumpkin spice latte! Or you can serve it with different sprinkled toppings of sesame seeds, red sugar, sprinkle, and many more.
Make sure to leave some on your altar with a glass of water for the loved ones you have lost. Because the journey has made the souls tired and thirsty.
FAQ About Pan de Muerto
Can I Store Pan de Muerto? And How?
Wrap or cover the sweet bread loaf and keep it on the kitchen counter edible for around 2 days depending on the room temperature. If you are interested in using meat too, you can read our turkey met load recipe.
To store longer :
Or you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for about a week.
Can I Make It Without AirFryer Lid?
Of course, you can! follow the recipe card till the mixing, kneading, and resting step.
- Now preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake bread for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven and brush it with the lemon mixture.
- Dish out and let it cool.
Why My Bread Got So Heavy?
This can be because of not kneading the dough properly or rushing the process. Remember that this recipe requires patience and good handwork. Just follow the exact timings and steps as described above.
More Bread Recipes
More Mexican Recipes
Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas
Instant Pot Pan De Muerto
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon orange zest
- ¼ cup Mexican chocolate grated
- 4 cups wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground anise
- 1 ½ tablespoon butter
- 1 ¼ tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Take a bowl, pour in water, add yeast, sugar, and mix. Set it aside.
- Take another bowl, add flour, previously prepared yeast mixture, eggs, condensed milk, orange zest, salt, ground anise, grated chocolate, and mix.
- Knead the dough.
- Add butter, sugar, and knead again.
- Cover and set aside for 2-4 hours.
- Now divide the dough into three pieces, make round balls with the two pieces, and set them aside covered for 30 minutes.
- Now cut out shapes from the dough as shown in the video tutorial and place them on one big round ball. Stick them with help of water.
- Cover it and set it aside for 2 hours.
- Take a bowl, add water, sugar, lemon juice, and mix.
- Now transfer the bread into the instant pot and cover it with an air fryer lid.
- Bake at 370F for 40 minutes.
- Dish out Pan De Muerto and apply the previously prepared lemon mixture.
- Add sugar to the wet surface. Serve and enjoy!
- The recipe does not include inactive time.
- Do a good hand job for the desired results.